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Blogging on Island Time

By Jeff McDonough

Thursday, July 5: Dellhofen, Germany.

A castle overlooks the Rhein River.A castle overlooks the Rhein River.These days we expect the Internet to just about everywhere we go. So we were surprised to find that our first few days in Germany were without reliable wireless connections.

Now we are surrounded by wifi and have a choice of several networks. So here’s a report on what we’ve been up to.

We all think of Germany as a land of fairytale castles, bratwurst, beer and windmills. But what about wine? France or Italy come to mind first.

We are visiting the Rhein region in southwestern Germany and have learned that this is home to a thriving wine-making industry. The hills of the river valley are covered with vineyards that produce some fine Reislings and Pinot Noirs.

A visit here would not be complete without a trip to a couple of wine cellars for a tasting. We prefer our wines on the dryer side and have found both the Reislings and Pinot Noirs to be outstanding.

Kim takes a break from riding as a barge motors past on the Rhine.Kim takes a break from riding as a barge motors past on the Rhine.Yesterday we borrowed bicycles from the gasthauf and pedaled some 50 kilometers for a wonderful tour of the region. We rode north to Boppard along the Rhein River, which we discovered is a busy transportation corridor. The river is packed with ships and barges that are carrying all sorts of goods. We saw barges loaded with grain, coal and petroleum. There were also a large number of barges packed with containers. There are train tracks on both sides of the Rhein.

Vineyards line the valley on both sides of the Rhein and produce some fine Reislings and Pinot Noirs.Vineyards line the valley on both sides of the Rhein and produce some fine Reislings and Pinot Noirs.We caught one of thes train at Boppard so we didn’t have to ride up the giant hill that overlooks the Rhein valley. We got off of the train at Emmelshausen and rode through many rural villages and fields of wheat and corn and hay. We found sour cherry trees and raspberry vines growing wild along the road and loaded with fruit ripe for picking.

In addition to crops of wheat, corn and hay, the German farmland produces electricity.In addition to crops of wheat, corn and hay, the German farmland produces electricity.Also along the way we saw several hundred giant windmills with their blades slowly turning in the summer breeze. The turbines generate electricity.

Friday, July 2: I've been having difficulty connecting to the Internet while traveling in Germany. My current connection is sketchy, so I'm not sure how long it will last.

Wednesday, May 20: My new blog has certainly lived up to its name, Island Time, as I had intended to make my first post online by this past weekend. So here we are on Wednesday and I am finally getting the blog going. That's island time by any measure.

Arbor Day Celebration

Tree City USA for the seventh year.Tree City USA for the seventh year.A small crowd gathered at the Town Hall on the morning of Tuesday, May 19, for an Arbor Day celebration and dedication of the new Yuan Magnolia that was recently planted there with the assistance of Largess Forestry. The magnolia replaces a massive 90-year-old oak that had been cut down this spring because it had been failing for several years.

The magnolia is expected to grow about twice as large as it is now.

Jim Rugh, chairman of the Jamestown Tree Preservation and Protection Committee, read a short proclamation from the Town Council. Afterwards, a representative of the Rhode Island Tree Council presented Town Administrator Bruce Keiser with the Tree City USA award. This is the seventh consecutive year that Jamestown has received the Tree City USA designation.

That's quite an honor!

Water Treatment Plant opens

Also on Tuesday, I visited the town's new Water Treatment Plant in order to write a story for this week's paper. I was impressed by both the building and the advanced technology. I did not mention in my story that the two-story building is wide open — there is no second floor. Hanging from the roof are two giant fans, I'm guessing 12 to 14 feet in diameter, that are used to circulate the air and keep the building from becoming too warm.

It is amazing to consider that thousands of angel-hair spaghetti-like hollow tubes are being used to filter our drinking water. I think islanders would be interested in seeing this new addition to the town. Might it be possible to schedule an open house day for the water treatment plant and the new highway barn, which is just about complete, sometime this spring or summer? I'll bet there would be a large turnout of Jamestowners who'd like to visit the two new public works facilities.

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